Let’s Review: Is Your Early Years Service Ready for September?

It's a perfect time to quickly review some of the things that are essential to make sure you have in place before the new term starts in September. When we ask "are you ready" we mean not just are you ready to do a great job educating children (we're sure you're ready for that!) but are you ready for inspection? Are you ready to provide the best possible hygiene and safety? And are you ready with all the documentation you need? Take a look through the list below and see if you're missing anything.

Prepare your service for best possible hygiene and infection control

We've all had a lot more emphasis on hygiene and infection control lately due to worries around COVID-19 but hygiene and infection control are always important for your early years service. Have you taken a look at our range of Dew disinfecting and cleaning products? Dew products are an amazing eco-friendly alternative to traditional cleaners, with great disinfecting properties to kill 99.995% of fungi, bacteria and viruses on surfaces. Because Dew products are all-natural and hypoallergenic and have no harsh cleaning agents or alcohol, they can be used for wiping surfaces in food preparation, for cleaning toys and anywhere you need skin-friendly safe cleaning.

We also carry a wide range of face masks, gloves, social distancing stickers, spray paint and stencils, hand sanitisers, wipe-clean signs with handwashing and nappy-changing instructions, and much more in our COVID-19 Safety Products category.

Dew Alcohol-Free Eco-Friendly Products    

COVID-19 Safety Products    

Be prepared with all your policies, procedures and documentation around COVID-19

Every service will need to verify that children returning to the service after the Summer are free of COVID-19 symptoms, whether they have been a close contact of anyone with COVID-19, and other information. Our COVID-19 Return to Service Questionnaire is one way of easily gathering and collating this information. The questionnaire uses our new EYRF Survey Tool to manage. Canavan Byrne have provided suggested questions, but with the Survey Tool you can add, remove and edit questions as needed. Then download answers in a convenient Excel spreadsheet.

COVID-19 Return to Service Questionnaire    

Just about everyone has used our COVID-19 Rescue Pack sometime since last Spring. The Rescue Pack provides comprehensive customisable documentation, forms, policy document, staff training and more to have the best possible procedures around managing infection control and COVID-19.

We've completely revised the Rescue Pack for this year to reflect changes to regulations, vaccination and PCR testing, we've also reorganised according to feedback we've had from early years service providers. If you purchased the Rescue Pack earlier this year or in 2020 you will be eligible for a big discount on the new version. We have gotten extremely positive feedback about service providers' experiences with inspections using the documentation from the Rescue Pack.

Newly Updated COVID-19 Rescue Pack    

Taking on new staff? You must have a contract!

If you are taking on new staff you are legally required to issue a contract of employment within the first 8 weeks. As an early years service provider, you must ensure that you contract covers child protection, garda vetting, confidentiality and GDPR compliance and professional conduct. Our Employment Contract Template is suitable for fixed-term, specified-purpose, hourly-paid, full-time, part-time or term-time contracts.

Our Inclusion Pack also includes a sample contract for AIM employees.

Our contracts come with a Statement of Core Terms, which under recent legislation needs to be supplied to new employees within 5 days of commencement of employment.

Employment Contract Template    

Roll Books and Child Registration

Record children's attendance with what we are sure is the very best Roll Book available for Early Years services. Our roll book is completely compliant with the requirements of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 and the Quality Regulatory Framework (Tusla 2018). It is a '3 in one' system that functions as a roll book, children's 'sign-in and sign-out' and is also used to record staff movements between rooms. Whatever system you use to record children's attendance, you must document who is authorised to collect the child and emergency contacts.

Ensure best compliance with latest regulations with our Children Registration Pack including forms for medical history, custody arrangements, sun safety, custody arrangements (for separated parents) and much more - all GDPR compliant.

Children Registration Pack    

Children's Roll Book with Sign-in and Sign-out    

Medicine Administration Records and Medical Emergency Care Plans

We have heard that medicine administration is a very common area of non-compliance in inspections. Ensure you have the correct documentation in place! One way to document administration of medicines is with our Administration of Medicine Record Book.

Also make sure you have care plans in place for any children starting this year with any special health needs or allergies. We have a full range of medical care plans on the shop - if there is an illness or condition that we are not currently providing, please let us know and we will have a care plan put together by Canavan Byrne.

Medicine Administration is an important task to ensure the safety and welfare of the child. It is also a very common area of non-compliance. Ensure you have the correct record in place. Do you have children attending in September with allergies or health conditions. It is essential that you have a care plan in place and that staff have the knowledge to respond effectively to a medical emergency. We have a full range of medical care plans and if there is an illness/condition not on our list the Canavan Byrne team will write one for you and make it available on the Early Years Shop.

Medical and Health Forms    

Administration of Medicine Book    

Parent Handbooks

The Quality and Regulatory Framework requires that you share information and policies with parents in a user-friendly fashion. Also, if you are inspected by the Department of Education and Science (DES), there will be an expectation that you have a Parent Handbook. There are two editable versions available, one to suit preschool and day care and one especially for school-aged children.

Parent Handbook    

Parent Handbook for School-Aged Service (Afterschool)    

Meet requirements for good communication with the Newsletter Creator

Have you seen our new EYRF Newsletter Creator? This is a tool to create a personalised monthly newsletter for parents of children in your early years service. We've updated the Newsletter Creator so you can add as many pages as you wish, and we also have added the facility for you to upload photos to your newsletter!

Every month we provide some articles (supplied by Canavan Byrne) of general interest to parents. You can choose as many as you wish from these and then add your own news or other information parents will need. We also provide some topical illustrations you can use as well as a colourful seasonal background. The finished product is a downloadable PDF that you can then email to parents or print out and hand out at drop off or collection times.

Early Years Resource Factory members have unlimited free use of the Newsletter Creator as well as unlimited access to create personalised online surveys, countless printable resources, curriculum plans and more. Sign up for an EYRF Membership (or sign up for a no-obligation free trial).

Customised Newsletter for Your Service    

Child Safeguarding Policy

Since March 2018 all services who work with young children must have a Safeguarding Statement. You also need to submit your safeguarding statement to Tusla for registration purposes. Our Child Safeguarding Pack contains both a customisable Child Safeguarding Statement and a 50+ page Child Safeguarding Policy!

Child Safeguarding Pack    

Risk Assessment

For those of you have been recently inspected by Tusla you will know that risk management forms a large part of the inspection and services who do not have proper risk checks and audits in place are being asked by Tusla to submit them every month for three months so it becomes habitual. Our Risk Assessment pack provides you with daily risk checks as well as an audit tool.

Risk Assessment - Audits and Records    

Accident and Incident Recording

This is an area of high non-compliance in services. You now must record the risk assessment (corrective and preventive action taken) following an accident. You must also give each parent a copy of the record (not just a signature) and place a copy on each child’s file. Our bumper triplicate book ensures compliance.

Accident and Incident Book    

Learning Journey Books

Get off on the right foot by allocating “A Child’s Learning Journey” to each child. These ‘bumper’ size best-selling journals allow plenty of space for observations and to capture and document children’s emerging interests. Why not combine the journeys with our Aistear Stickers so those important links are made and parents can make the connections and learn more about the curriculum framework.

Child's Learning Journey    

Curriculum Plans

Our curriculum plans are not templates. They are a library of curriculum and activity ideas so that early years professionals can plan ahead but most importantly respond to the emerging interests of children. The purpose behind our plans and the Early Years Resource Factory is to allow you build a library of resources for your service. When a child demonstrates they have an interest you will be able to retrieve materials that will assist you support the child through their learning journey. All curriculum plans are related to Aistear themes, and many have links to learning areas and Montessori.

Curriculum, Policies and Toolkits    

Child Friendly Policies (for School-Aged Childcare)

Some of you provide services for children after school until their parents/guardians can collect them. You provide a happy, safe place where children can play, do homework, eat meals and snacks and have fun with other children. This very popular downloadable pack contains a child-friendly template for each of seven policies which you can customise for your service. This nicely complements the Parent Handbook described above.

Child Friendly Policies for School Aged Services    

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